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Why can’t I find…..?

One of the things that drives Aunt Toby absolutely barking dog crazy is not being able to find items in the stores that, at least to moi, appear to be things that every store should have, every year. Sometimes, I’m absolutely unreasonable (as in finding coveralls for my grandson made out of something other than cotton); other times, it’s a case of seeming fashion choices made at some central office someplace by someone who obviously is about 23 years old and has not bothered to ask anyone what their interests are (hey, I don’t give a darn if some color forecasting group has proclaimed this year to be the year of ‘puce’…), which is why I can never, ever, find a skirt in forest green wool or charcoal grey slacks.

This year, it was a red, long sleeved sweater, in wool.

I felt I was not being picky. It is not as if it had to have this style neck or that style neck. It is not as if I was wedded to a cardigan versus a pullover. But I wanted real, honest to goodness, red.

Not burgundy, deep rose pink, wine, or rust. Red. English ‘the redcoats are coming; the redcoats are coming’, fire engine, scarlet woman red.

In wool.

It makes no difference if you look on the internet, in the stores, in catalogs, or bargain basements. I can find six shades of pink and six shades of reds with varying amounts of blue in them. And we will not even discuss how much wool gets used in what I could find. The best I could find was a horribly shortened cardi with 50% wool in a weight so light I could have used it for underwear.

People, it’s winter. Long sleeves, a length that will hit me at least at hip level if not below the rearend, and some honest to goodness warmth here.

One of the ‘helpers’ at a JC Penney advised us to sign on to Pendleton and look there. Even at Pendleton’s prices (which give me a nose bleed), no such luck.

So, I faced one of two choices: buy the one v-neck pullover I found (which had 21% wool in it and was a reasonable price at 50% off) or cough up to get red wool and knit myself one. Guess what – I’ve been looking at that situation also and I can’t find scarlet 100% wool yarn for life or limb (actually, scarlet is a tough color; trust me, when I used to dye my own fibers, the closest I ever came to getting it was a batch which ended up the color of tomato sauce. Something to do with iron in the water). If I wanted a red cashmere sweater I could find it. If I was willing to wear a guy’s sweater that was red and made of wool, I could find THAT.

I could, I suppose, just throw in the electronic towel and give it up until scarlet comes back into the fashion color spectrum and snap up the first (at full retail) all wool red sweater I could find, but I refuse. I wear red a lot. I wear red with brown, black, grey, navy blue. Not green.

So, I got the 21% wool pullover, and felt slightly resentful for about 5 minutes.

Annoying, I tell you. Annoying.

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  1. Duchesse says:

    There were attractive reds, in two hues of cashmere (Rich Red and Flame Red) at Lands’ End in cashmere this winter; depending on the week, 30-40% off and free shipping. And in Women’s, Petite and Plus sizes. But you may be looking for something more rugged.

    100% wool is vanishing; now we get blends, which do not breathe well- and it may be psychological, but I loathe acrylic. Or there’s fleece, which is better than cashmere for outdoor work, etc. and washes well. Heavy wool knits are dying out for that reason: it is warm, but heavy and harder to care for. Still, I regret discarding several 100% wool J. Crew sweaters that were nice examples of classic nordic ski sweaters. So yes, I’d invest in Pendleton, one of the last great US mills standing.

    Cheaper clothes do not use good dyes. Even navy blue looks dull and sad in low end product. Am not saying *you* are cheap! Sometimes we have to spend more to get the quality and then are set for a very long time.

  2. Shiphrah says:

    Yep. You’ll have to knit it. I just looked at my catalog from Halcyon Yarn (way too dangerously close by me) and Jaeggerspun #3 looks like what you want. But it ain’t gonna come cheap, or even inexpensive. And you have to enjoy knitting! Bartlett and Peace Fleece both have something that looks close to my eye, but might tend a little too much toward pink for you. I’d look at Brown Sheep Nature Spun and Cascade 220 as well.

  3. Nola says:

    I know just how you feel. Even trying to find something on-line is iffy because you have to take the word of the seller that it really is the color you want, or the weight, or size. Around here I just wait. Eventually we go to a city and I get the chance to look there. If I find something on sale I get it. I have even started looking at second-hand/used clothing stores. I found a really great color of sweater and just had to unravel it to make it into something that I wanted and that fit. I’m cheap, so sue me. If it works, use it.

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